Have you watched “The Bear” on Hulu? If you’re in any way associated with or interested in the restaurant world, the answer is probably a resounding, Yes Chef! The FX drama about a young cook, his dysfunctional family and a deteriorating restaurant is an emotional roller coaster of addiction, psychosis, screaming and Hail Mary saves.
In other words, pretty much #restaurantlife.
The eight-episode series tells the story of fine-dining chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (played by Jeremy Allen White) who returns to Chicago to run his family’s lowbrow deli and sandwich shop after the death of his brother. A James Beard Award winner fresh from stints at some of the world’s best restaurants — The French Laundry, NOMA and Eleven Madison Avenue, Carmy suddenly finds himself slinging greasy beef subs next to a cast of flawed but lovable characters.
Real-life chef Matty Matheson plays Fak, a foul-mouthed handyman and aspiring chef. Liza Colon Zayas is the scheming but under-appreciated Tina; Ebon Moss Bachrach (Richie) creates unnecessary drama at every turn; and Ayo Edebiri (Sydney) gives a winning performance as a struggling young sous chef with more talent than the entire kitchen staff combined.
The series is an unflinching look at the unsexy, unappreciated work of running a mom-and-pop restaurant that will cure anyone of their food service fantasies. But it’s also a window into the passion that makes chefs and restaurateurs persist, despite having to deal with shady purveyors, angry customers and staff quitting mid-service.
Viewers will also pick up kitchen terms like “behind,” “hands,” “all day,” and “brigade,” and learn what a walk-in and speed racks are, and why the title “Chef” is essential. Knife skills are impressive, with whole onions brunoise cut in seconds, and there’s a heaping helping of back-biting, bloody fingers and equal-opportunity humiliation.
Overall, “The Bear” is a poignant portrayal of restaurant life, where kitchen hierarchies, the challenges of being a woman in food service, addiction, drug abuse and the chaos of life behind the counter are served up hot.
All episodes of The Bear (Season One) now streaming on Hulu.